Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse City high school students Monday were invited to share thoughts about their schools, and some suggestions as part of the third annual student voices symposium.  Concerns ranged from school safety…to what’s served for lunch.

If you ask 11th grader Jean-Baptiste Rakotoarison, and 10th grader Ridwan Sirad, they’ll tell you that PSLA at Fowler is a safe school.  Their concerns seem to revolve around resources for students.  The school has the poorest high school population in the city, and Rakotoarison says most students are left out of some activities.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders are negotiating a new anti sexual harassment policy for state and local government officials as part of the state budget. But several victims of sexual abuse and harassment in the legislature have come forward with a letter, asking that the issue be taken out of the budget, to allow more time for public input.

governor.ny.gov

Those who provide services and advocacy for Central New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS will be watching closely this week to see if the final state budget includes funding to increase affordable housing. Governor Cuomo has proposed the expansion of a successful rental assistance program in New York City to the rest of the state.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Local activists want Customs and Border Patrol out of Central New York transit.  About two dozen members and supporters of the Immigrant and Refugee Defense Network rallied in front of the Regional Transportation Center today demanding that companies deny Customs the ability to raid buses and trains for undocumented immigrants.  Attorney Herve Comeau says Customs enforces raids selectively, targeting people they think “look foreign.”

With State Budget Deadline Looming, Major Issues Are Still Unresolved

Mar 22, 2018
Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

It’s just over a week until the state budget is due, and there’s no resolution on an array of proposed new taxes and spending proposals, as well as several unrelated items that are tied to the budget.

Governor Cuomo has been holding private leaders meetings on the budget at the executive mansion.

This week is about getting a state budget done,” Cuomo said. “Which is one of the most serious state budgets we’ve had to deal with.”

Scott Willis

Students at Syracuse’s Institute of Technology Wednesday joined others at high schools in Syracuse and across the nation to find ways to create the first tobacco-free generation.  Wednesday’s event was part of the 23rd annual Kick Butts Day.

Dozens of ITC Students tried their hand at the prize wheel as they passed by the cafeteria during lunch periods.  Student assistance counselor Melissa Erlenbeck says they’re trying to empower students…

cynthiafornewyork.com

Actor and public education advocate Cynthia Nixon announced her campaign for governor of New York  Monday. She wants to run in a Democratic primary against incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

Nixon made her announcement in a video that shows her with her wife and children in her home, and on the streets of New York, taking her child to school and riding the subway. 

New York is my home,” Nixon said in the video, saying she grew up with her mom, a single mother, in a fifth floor walkup.

Senator Schumer Says "No" to Putting Say Yes Students at Risk

Mar 19, 2018
Scott Willis / WAER News

Scholarship dollars for hundreds of Say Yes students in Syracuse and elsewhere appear to be getting held up in a new federal department of education policy that could cause some students to drop out of college. Senator Chuck Schumer is demanding the Secretary of Education reverse the policy.

Schumer said the problem is that Say Yes and similar scholarship programs are unable to access students’ financial data in order to process payments in a timely manner.  He said this throws up unnecessary roadblocks that can result in late fees for students or worse.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The state of New York is partnering with communication companies as part of a continuing effort to push broadband into more isolated areas.  Without broadband, people in these areas rely on dial-up internet, which means lower transfer speeds and available bandwidth.

Scott Willis / WAER News

We’ve heard of March Madness in college basketball.  But Friday could be called Match Madness for nearly 150 Upstate Medical University students who opened envelopes containing their residency assignments.  That’s where they will spend their first year of training as doctors. 

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